Our scripture this week is Matthew 18:21-35.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

This lesson on forgiveness has another point for us to consider – patience. When the king brings the servant in for the accounting, the servant pleads “be patient with me and I will pay back everything”. We learn that we must give each other time in order to make things right.

It is hard for us to change and we should not expect an immediate improvement. We must remember that Jesus is patient with us, watching the gradual growth in our lives. We must also be patient with the change in each other, knowing that we are all on a journey to become better people.

Forgiveness requires patience and understanding. We all need love and support to move forward on the path Jesus showed us. When we forgive each other and share the mercy Christ has taught us, we too become better children of the kingdom.

Loving Lord, we are grateful that You came for us while we were still sinners, giving us grace to change our hearts and lives and follow You. Help us to show the same compassion to our brothers and sisters, forgiving them as You first forgave us. Amen.

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